Thursday, May 21, 2015

Repossessing Relevance: 7 Wonders (Part 2 of 2)

Guest post by Elizabeth Timmins

This post is a continuation from Repossessing Relevance: 7 Wonders (Part 1 of 2)

Reach Out & Read Wisconsin
4) I joined the “Reach Out and Read” advisory team in March. The Appleton Public Library is heading up a grant that is working with doctors and clinics to promote reading as part of babies’ well child visits. This is an exciting initiative with many professionals working together toward the same end goal of a literate society. This group reinforces for me that it takes many, many, many committed individuals to create change.

5) In early April, I took a CE webinar called “Persuasion at the Library” presented by Bradley Shipps. Her source for this talk was: She taught us six principles of influence and one of them was “authority”. I am aware that I do serve as an authority (on many things) but this webinar caused me to reflect on how I can use my authority to influence productive re-visioning. I will strive to be a STRONGER and more vocal authority. My vast years of experience can serve me well for this, moving forward.
Image source: Pixabay

6) In late April I listened to the Kathleen Dunn show on WPR called “Positive PersonalNarratives for Better Mental Health” with guest Dr. Jonathan Adler.  .  This show absolutely blew…my…mind. The show explained that all of us are both the main character in and the narrator of our personal stories. The question is, “What story do you tell yourself about yourself?” A person’s mental health, over the course of their lifetime, can be improved or dismantled by the story that is being told! We are in control of our story/stories and the narratives that are healthy for us include stories about communion, agency/change, and redemption.

Here is the part that hurt…my…brain. The LESS we read, the less archetypal stories we will have to choose from to integrate into the story that we are telling ourselves about ourselves. Therefore, reading A GREAT DEAL is very good for the state of our mental health. Promoting reading to ALL of our patrons is promoting mental health. Hurrah!! I had never heard of reading being framed like this before. It is so empowering! (I have instinctively described reading as a “personal soother” but never realized how accurate that was. Whoa!)

Growing Wisconsin Readers brochures
7) The child development class from our high school requested a library visit in mid-May. One tool I distributed was the GROWING WISCONSIN READERS brochure. It so happened that my theme for the presentation was gardening. This handout was fabulous because it describes the stages of learning to read as parallel with the stages of a plant growing. While standing in front of these students I had an “a-ha” moment whereby I realized that this is something that will ALWAYS need to be imparted. We will always need to teach people that reading to children is critical from the age of birth upward AND that there are books that are developmentally appropriate for each developmental stage/age.

Thanks for reading about how I recently participated in a convergence of seven learning opportunities.  These experiences lead me to the point that my (and our) work is still as relevant as ever. Our contributions are needed and important for our world! Keep up the great work!

Written by:
Elizabeth M. Timmins
Library Director & Programmer, Muehl Public Library, Seymour WI
B.A. in Education St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI
M.A. in Education Marian College, Fond du Lac, WI